Yesterday, that is. It felt like I never left. Only 49 F here; was 55 F in Seattle yesterday.
But the main thing that made it seem “so Seattle” was the persistent low Stratocumulus overcast, almost no sun whatsoever, and a little rain. We picked up another 0.03 inches in a couple of morning episodes of R– (an old weather texting1 shorthand for “very light rain”) to bring the storm total here to 0.55 inches. Of course, the best part of that overcast was that it allowed the ground to be damp for another day, helping the spring grasses and wildflowers by keeping the soil moisture in the soil and not flying away under a hot sun. The worst part of the overcast that lasted almost all day, was that Mr. Cloud Maven person had the day completely wrong–thought it would break open in the afternoon to “partly cloudy” and so he was as gloomy as the sky. You see, as a weather forecaster, you can’t even really enjoy a nice day if you didn’t predict it. Had some sad 75 F days in Seattle when I only predicted 69 F; everybody having summer fun but me.
Enough nostalgia, here are the clouds, even if you have no interest in seeing such boring clouds again:
Some residual small Cumulus, maybe clumping into a larger group this morning for a bit, which you would then refer to as Stratocumulus. Should gradually diminish in size and coverage until almost completely clear in the afternoon. Expect a north wind in the afternoon, too.
The weather ahead
There isn’t any, well, not right away, but WAY ahead….
Chances for rain begin to pick up after the 19th as we enter the “zone of curl”, “cyclonic curls” in the upper atmosphere with a lot of “vorticity” in them again, with temperatures falling back to normal values. Pretty tough to have warm weather for long at this time of year in AZ. You see, its troughs like to “nest in the West” in March, April, and May, even when they’re not strong and far enough south to bring rain, maybe only wind. Its a climo thing, and it causes many areas of the West to see an increase in precipitation in March from February, and also halts the rapid rise in spring temperatures (especially in Seattle, hahahaha, sort of).
This because the global circulation pattern, responding to the climb of the sun in the sky and warming continents in the northern hemisphere, those forces acting on the position of the jet stream, and weakening it here in the NH (northern hemisphere), is changing the jet stream pattern so that storms begin to move southeastward from the north Pacific across the Pac NW into the Great Basin area in the spring, bringing cold north Pacific air into the West. There was a great report about this phenomenon by old man Bjerknes out of UCLA with his Ph. D. grad student, Chuck Pyke, back in the mid-1960s. Pyke was a UCLA sports nut, BTW, to add some color to this account.
We won’t see that “trough in the West” pattern for awhile here in our “oasis of warmth” now about to begin, but count on it returning, as it appears to do late in the model runs from last night. Climo is forcing it.
The End, except for footnotes.
1Yeah, that’s right. Weathermen, as we would say it then, were way ahead of their time, “texting” each other long before kids thought of “texting.” You might write a weather friend, if you could find one: “We had a TSTM to the S with FQTLTGCCCG ALQDS last night for a few H. MVD N.” PIREPS, SIGMETS, too, were all “texted” and texted by teletype! Tell your kids.
2Was under the aegis of Research Applications Program (RAP) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO. Money was good…though not nearly as much as you would make as a TEEVEE weather presenter (hahaha). I was a post retiree guest scientist for RAP NCAR. Clouds could be real bumpy there in Saudi, thought I was gonna die once as bottom dropped out of the Lear going into Cumulonimbus at night that one time. Pilot liked to cut it close between the hail shafts and the rising parts of the Cu with little or no precip, using his aircraft radar. But sometimes, it was a little too close…and we got into the shear zone between a strong updraft and the downdraft.